By Charlie Adcock, F311374
FMCA National President
My Dear FMCA Family:
It seems as if we went from summer straight into the holiday season.
Since being elected as your national president this past June, Gloria and I have attended five area rallies and visited eight chapters. I also have been on two Family Reunion/convention site visits: one to Redmond, Oregon, and one to Perry, Georgia.
One thing I have discovered is that the grass roots of FMCA are at the chapter level. If it were not for chapter participation, Gloria and I probably would not have stuck around. Last month I talked about buying our first motorhome, so this month I thought I would share how we got involved in FMCA after purchasing our first three motorhomes.
When we bought our fourth motorhome (2 years and 2 months into RVing), it was a new coach, and we received a free FMCA membership through the RV dealer. If I remember correctly, we also received a letter from the chapter president of the Arkansas Travelers inviting us to a rally in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We just happened to have a little time between NASCAR races and decided to attend.
Of course, we were welcomed with open arms. Katie and Huey Simoneaux, F152469, were assigned as our mentors for the rally. That was in 2002, and we still count them among our closest friends. They later introduced us to the Cruisin’ Cajuns chapter, which we also joined. We belonged to two chapters in FMCA, and every time we started to a NASCAR race it seemed to interfere with a chapter rally we wanted to attend. As we know, life is all about choices. Gloria and I decided we really liked FMCA and the camaraderie of the chapter rallies better than the car races. We gave up all our race tickets and reserved race campsites and REALLY got involved in FMCA.
We attended our first international convention in the summer of 2003 in Buffalo, New York. Since we were the only chapter members from the Arkansas Travelers attending, we were asked to represent the chapter at the Governing Board meeting. I was intrigued with the governance of our member-owned association, and my direct involvement escalated quickly.
Since that time, we have attended many different chapter rallies and joined several more chapters. Some we really enjoyed and some we thought were “just okay.” If there is a point to be made here, I guess it would be that chapters are like automobiles. Not everyone likes the same things. That is why there are so many makes and models. The same is true of FMCA chapters; the makeup of one chapter may not fit your personality, but the next one turns out to be a perfect fit.
In addition to chapters whose members live in one geographic area, FMCA has chapters made up of a really wide variety of interest groups — for example, chapters for golfers, owners of a certain motorhome brand, music lovers (Frustrated Maestros), race fans, four-wheelers, motorcycle riders, and full-time RVers, just to name a few. You can search for a chapter at FMCA.com in the Chapters/Areas section. The most recent printed Chapter Directory appeared in the August 2013 issue of FMC and will be updated in the January 2014 issue. Of course, if you need help finding a chapter that fits you, you can call the Chapter Services staff at the FMCA national office (513-474-3622 or 800-543-3622) or send an e-mail to either Dianna Mitts (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Christy Budai (email@example.com). These ladies are just waiting to help you find your perfect fit. And if you cannot find a chapter that relates to your interests, the Chapter Services staff can help you to form one.
As I write this article, Gloria and I are on our way to the Eastern Area Rally (GEAR) being held in York, Pennsylvania. We had noticed in the FMC magazine that the Ohio Nomads chapter was having a “no-host rally” near Millersburg, Ohio. This was almost on our path to York, so I called Mary Alice Gast, F269719, and wrangled an invitation for FMCA national senior vice president Jon Walker and us to visit. I’m telling you, if you ever need a host for a no-host rally, Mary Alice is the lady to call on. She also happens to be the chapter secretary. We were in the heart of Amish country, and the food was out of this world. Big thanks to the Nomads for having us.
A quick report on our Under Sixty Task Force. The response has been really good. At the time of this writing, the group was approaching the 100-member mark. This group is being led by Al Vormittag, national vice president, International Area, and Vicky Ferrari, national secretary, and they are making plans to have a get-together at Perry in March for all the task force members who attend the Family Reunion. They have set up a forum on the FMCA Web site. This is a password-protected forum for our task force members to use to share ideas and communicate. By now Task Force members should have received an e-mail with all the instructions. Al and Vicky encourage you to visit and start talking. If you are under the age of 60 and have not yet signed up to participate, please contact Penny Gortemiller (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the FMCA national office and let her know of your interest.
Speaking of forums, I hope you have had a chance to check out my blog in the “Forums” area on FMCA.com. It is titled “Travels with the FMCA Prez.” You can access it by opening the FMCA home page and clicking on the “Blogs” selection under the “Forums” tab. With Gloria’s help, we are trying to keep it updated and fresh so that each time you log in, there will be something different.
Well, this time of year starts getting pretty busy with all the parties and celebrations. Most of us will be taking the opportunity to gather with family and/or friends for those very special occasions of gift-sharing and renewal of cherished relationships and traditions. Of course, that means many of our FMCA family will be on the road this month. Be careful and be safe — we want to see you at next year’s rallies! For all those who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas. For all my Jewish friends, I wish you a Happy Hanukkah, and for all others, I wish you Happy Holidays.
It’s time I close this up. Remember, “It’s all about having FUN!”